Rakuten Mobile gets 5G up and running - Mobile World Live

Rakuten Mobile gets 5G up and running

30 SEP 2020

Japanese operator Rakuten Mobile unveiled its long-awaited 5G service, highlighting the low price of unlimited plans and a new company-branded smartphone running on both sub-6GHz and mmWave spectrum, though network coverage is limited to parts of six prefectures.

Under its new Un-limit V plan, the operator introduced free 5G and 4G service for one year to the first 3 million subscribers who sign up. After this it costs JPY2,980 ($28.22) a month, which chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani (pictured) claimed is 71 per cent lower than rivals’ next-generation offerings.

Mikitani pointed to the high cost of existing mobile tariffs in Japan and maintaining a simple offering as the main drivers for keeping the price of 5G the same as its 4G service.

He said it is making “great progress on base stations, more than we initially planned”, and would likely achieve nationwide coverage “by the middle of 2021”.

It is targeting some availability in all 47 prefectures by end-March 2021 and aims to launch standalone (SA) 5G in Q2.

Rakuten Mobile originally aimed to launch the 5G service in June, but pushed it back due to Covid-19 (coronavirus).

Mikitani said applications for the free offer are gradually increasing, but provided no update from the 1 million stated in July.

The company claimed daily data usage of its 4G service is twice the average of domestic rivals.

CTO Tareq Amin said 5G download rates are at 870Mb/s and is confident of surpassing 1Gb/s after a forthcoming software enhancement.

The Rakuten Big handset features a 6.8-inch OLED display and 64MP camera, and retails for JPY69,800.



Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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